Summary: One of the most difficult areas to show patience in is our relationships with others. But that is exactly what God’s Word calls us to have in our relationships. Because love is patient.
“Did you hear about the teacher who was helping one of her kindergarten students put on his boots? He asked for help and she could see why?
With her pulling and him pushing, the boots still didn’t want to go on.
When the second boot was on, she had worked up a sweat. She almost whimpered when the little boy said, ‘Teacher, they’re on the wrong feet.’
She looked and sure enough, they were. It wasn’t any easier pulling the boots off than it was putting them on. She managed to keep her cool as together they worked to get the boots back on—this time on the right feet.
He then announced, ‘These aren’t my boots.’
She bit her tongue rather than get right in his face and scream, ‘Why didn’t you say so?’ like she wanted to.
Once again she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off.
He then said, ‘They’re my brother’s boots. My Mom made me wear them.’
She didn’t know if she should laugh or cry. She mustered up the grace and courage she had left to wrestle the boots on his feet again.
She said, ‘Now, where are your mittens?’
He said, ‘I stuffed them in the toes of my boots…’ (www.jokeseverday.com/jokes/patience.htm)
What a patient teacher! Patience is never an easy thing. After our drive to North Carolina this last Christmas I sent a message back to the church that whoever prayed for patience for me was in a lot of trouble. I don’t know if you got that message or not. Taking 27 hours to make a 15hour trip was one of the most aggravating trips I have ever taken in my life. What would normally take 1 ½ hours of our trip took about 8 hours. We sat without moving at one point from 9:15pm until 1:00am. That was right after we had to take a 45 mile detour that took 4 hours to make. Never before have I been asked to exhibit such patience. But probably the most difficult aspect of patience is to have it in our relationship with others. But that is what the Bible calls us to. We are going to start a series today on what is most commonly referred to as the love passage, I Corinthians 13:4-8. Now this scripture passage is in many marriage ceremonies that are done today, it is also used many times in my pre-marital counseling sessions. But the love that is described there is a love that we are called to love all people with. After all, it is the love that God loves us with. If you want to look in your Bible with me this morning you can, but we will be looking at that first aspect of love. Love is patient.
The Bible says that love is patient. The question is, why is love patient? Or maybe it’s better to ask the question: Why should we show patience?
In Matthew chapter 18, Jesus tells a parable where a king decided it was time to settle accounts with his servants. A servant was brought before him who owed him ten thousand talents. That was a lot of money. The servant was not able to pay him so the king ordered that the man and his wife and children and everything he had be sold to repay the debt. But the servant fell on his knees before him and begged him to be patient with him and he would pay him back everything he owes. The king was filled with so much pity that not only was he patient but he wiped out the entire debt. But after the servant left he went and found a man that owed him money. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded payment of the dept. The man begged and pleaded with him asking him for patience. But he refused to show the man any patience and he had him put into prison until he could pay the money back. When others took notice of this they went and told the king and the king was so distressed that he had the man arrested, jailed and tortured until he could pay back every penny that he owed him. The king showed the man an incredible amount of patience and mercy, shouldn’t that man have gone out and extended that same patience and mercy with that man? But instead he was hardhearted like he never truly received the patience from the king. Why should we show patience? I think the answer is so simple: Because God is patient with you. How many times have we let God down? How many times have we said, “Lord, if you would just do this for me, I promise I will do what you want for the rest of my life!” Yet, a few weeks later it’s like we never even said that. How many times has God been patient with you when you failed to acknowledge His will for your life? How many times has God stuck with you and watched over you, even when you have let Him down? If God has done that for us, shouldn’t we in turn do that in our relationships with others? How many times has someone let us down and sure, maybe we will give them grace once? We will be patient the first time. But after that mister, there are no more chances. You blew it! Aren’t you glad that God isn’t the same way! But maybe you’ve never really took notice with God’s patience for you. Max Lucado writes in his book, A Love Worth Giving, “If you find patience hard to give, you might ask the same question. How infiltrated are you with God’s patience? You’ve heard about it. Read about it. Perhaps underlined passages regarding it. But have you received it? The proof is in your patience. Patience deeply received results in patience freely offered.” That last statement is worth repeating again. “Patience deeply received results in patience freely offered.” How deeply have you received the patience that God has given to you? If you haven’t truly felt the depth of patience that He has shown to you then you will have a hard time being freely patient with others. God is love and God is patient. Patience is such a big part of true love. Patience with your spouse is so important in a good marriage. When you live together there are going to be things that will drive you nuts. But love demands patience. We have a world that breaks God’s heart with its disobedience and lack of regard for what He wants. But even in the midst of a world that breaks his heart; Peter tell us in II Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone coming to repentance.” I think of Jonah. Jonah ran from God’s call on his life. We all know how God had him swallowed by a big fish. But God spared him and gave Jonah a second chance that he didn’t deserve. Jonah went back and preached repentance and the people responded. God’s patience paid off, but Jonah had no patience for the people he was sent to and he was angry that they were spared and shown patience. It makes you wonder how much Jonah truly recognized and experienced God’s patience. If you have truly experienced God’s patience with you, then your life will exhibit patience with others. You will have patience in your marriage, your friendships, and with your brothers and sisters in Christ. This passage says the very first thing that love is- is patience.